Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Paper Will Never Die

The June 2006 edition of PracticeLink, a Canadian Bar Association publication, carries the reprint of an article entitled Why Paper Still Matters: A Contrarian View of the Paperless Office.

The author argues that "the paperless office will not become widely used for two reasons — one philosophical and one practical".

From the philosophical point of view:
  • "Emotional attachment to tactile paper will prove hard to overcome"
  • "Paper, in the end, may prove to be the more environmentally friendly product"
  • "Computer screens provide only linear searching and processing; developing a new concept is much harder when you have to follow the logic of the search program"
From the pratical point of view:
  • "Unlike a digital file, paper cannot be imperceptibly altered. That's one big reason why lawyers are required to maintain physical copies of important client documents..."
  • "...the use of familiar paper documents is often less costly in the long run"
  • "There are a variety of low cost technologies that enable a law office to enjoy the best of paper's advantages while reducing the record storage burden"
And then there is my take on paper's survival.

Many people, myself included, like to be surrounded by piles of "stuff": papers, files, books, magazines, etc. (old styrofoam cups, boxes of paper clips and staples, dozens of half-chewed pens and pencils, an old frisbee, the list goes on). If it doesn't look messy, it isn't an office. Digital existence is just too, well, clean.
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posted by Michel-Adrien at 8:21 pm


Blogger Patrick Cormier said...

If the organization complies with CGSB 72.14 "Electronic Records As Evidence", electronic records are fine, paper not needed...

9:15 pm  

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